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On the Works of Creation. - 325 our instruction, and it is intended to guide us to never-ending happiness, when the time of our abode on earth, which we know to be short, shall 'be ended. We must not then' rest contented with admiring the works of creation, but we must worship and adore the Creator of them. We must not stop short even here ; we must adore the God of Nature, but we must adore the God of Scripture too, for, in that his book, we not only see his infinite power and goodness and mercy, but we see how these are exerted towards us, for our own personal happiness in this life, and to bring us to everlasting happiness in the life to come.
To study the works of creation is, indeed, for the Christian, a delightful occupation; and, whilst he praises the great Lord of all for the goodness displayed in His works, his heart is raised to a higher feeling of gratitude, when he knows that the same merciful Being is the guardian of his safety, and that He is constantly watching over him for his good. We read that “ the
hairs of our head are all numbered,"—that“ not a sparrow falleth to the ground without our Heavenly Father's knowledge,” -that “ His mercy is over all His works.” A habit of considering and reflecting on the things which we behold around us will confirm to us the truth of these declarations, and will shew us the wonderful care that seems to have been bestowed on every creature that is made.
Let us look for a few instances. And we will look for them where, at first sight, we might be disposed to fancy that we saw something a little contrary to this rule.
Let us take the example of that great creature, the elephant. The neck of the elephant is very short; why is it made so? Certainly to make it stronger, to enable it to support the weight of his large head and those heavy tusks which were given for his defence. But, with this shortness of neck, the animal cannot reach the ground either to eat or to drink. Providence has therefore given him a proboscis (or trunk) which by its arrangement of rings and fibres can be lengthened or shortened, and turned in any direction; and, at the end of this, there is a little fleshy production about the size of a finger, which also performs the office of a finger, so as to pick up any thing from the ground, which it then conveys to its mouth, and thus the animal is fed.
Again, in the wing of a bat, there is a very curious contrivance, a hook by which the bat fixes itself to the sides of rocks, caves, and buildings; here it can rest, and from this position it takes its flight. Without her hook, the bat would be the most helpless of all animals. She can neither run upon her feet, nor raise herself from the ground; but the singular contrivance of the hook at the corner of the wing makes up for the deficiencies.
Again, birds of the duck kind seek their food in the water ; and to enable them to swim, Providence has given them web feet. The crane kind also seek their food in the waters, but they have no web feet and therefore they cannot swim; but to make up for this, they are provided with long legs for wading, and long necks and bills to grope for food in shal. lows and marshes.
The upper bill of a parrot is curious : it is hooked more than that of other birds; by this it climbs, breaks nuts, &c. Now, as this upper beak so far overlaps the lower one, if only the lower one moved it could scarcely open wide enough to receive its food. Here is then, therefore, a very peculiar contrivance to remedy this inconvenience. The upper chap is made to move, as well as the lower, that the mouth may open wider. In most birds, the upper chap is connected, and makes one piece with the skull; but, in the parrot, the upper
327 chap is joined to the bone of the head by a strong membrane placed on each side of it, in such a way that it can be moved upwards and downwards at pleasure.
Before the method of inoculating for the small-pox was known, and when people, of course, had it only in the natural way, the calculations of physicians have shewn, that one out of four, who were attacked by small-pox, died.
When inoculation was introduced, only one out of three hundred are supposed to have died, but as inoculation spread the disease many more people had it,-many caught it in the natural way from those who were inoculated, so that, on the whole, more people died of small-pox, than before inoculation was known.
Vaccination gives a disease of a very mild nature, which is not catching, so that there is every reason to expect, that if vaccination is persevered in, there will, in a few years, be an end to the smallpox
all over the kingdom ; and it already seems to have departed from many neighbourhoods; for, where the small-pox used to appear every two or three years, there are many towns and villages where it has not been known for more than twenty years. Let the inhabitants, however, of those places be careful to keep off the infection by the method which has hitherto succeeded, namely, by vaccination. If they neglect it, one person infected with the small-pox may bring the disorder among them, and every person not vaccinated will probably catch it. It is calculated, that, of those who are vaccinated, one out of three hundred takes the small-pox again, but the disease is then generally safe and harmless.
The following little account of the introduction of inoculation above a hundred years ago into Eng. land, may be amusing to such of our readers as have not heard it before :
“ Lady Mary Wortley Montague having returned to England in 1722, was determined to introduce the practice of inoculating for the small-pox, which she had witnessed in the East, and having before had the operation performed successfully upon her son, at Constantinople, desired her family surgeon to engraft her daughter also with that disease. The process was witnessed by three physicians, and the family apothecary ; but, though the success was complete, the profession still remained in suspense, and caution prevented the repetition of the experiment. But Caroline, Princess of Wales, having nearly lost the life of one of her daughters, the Princess Ann, by small-pox, was desirous of having her children inoculated; and obtained from his Majesty George the First, that six condemned criminals should be pardoned, for the good of the public, on condition of their submitting to be inoculated. Five of the felons contracted the disease, and had it favourably, but the sixth did not take it, for he had had the small-pox before, which he concealed; they all, however, escaped hanging. Dr. Mead recommended that the Chinese method should be practised upon a seventh criminal, a young girl of eighteen years of age. He introduced into her nostrils a tent (a piece of lint or cotton) wetted with matter from ripe pustules, which nearly approaches to the practice of the Chinese, who take the skins of some of the dried pustules which have fallen from the body, and put them into a porcelain bottle, stopping the mouth of it very closely with
When they have a mind to infect any one,
329 they make up three or four of these skins (inserting between them one grain of musk) into a tent with cotton, which they put up the nostrils.
“In the case of the girl on whom Dr. Mead tried the experiment, she took the infection and perfectly recovered.”—The above account is taken from an interesting work lately published, called “The Goldheaded Cane."
The practice of vaccination, as most of my readers know, was introduced by Dr. Jenner in later days, some thirty years ago; he was induced to try this method by observing that the milk-men and maids in Gloucestershire, who received into their chapped hands the matter from the teats of cows, whilst milking, were not liable to take the small-pox; he therefore took some of this matter from the cow, and when he introduced it into the arms of human subjects, he found that they were generally protected from small-pox. The matter (or more properly the lymph) is not now taken from cows, but from the arms of human subjects who have received the disease. There does not seem any necessity to go back to the cow, as the lymph from the human subject seems to answer the purpose equally well. There are some people who say they do not like the disorder because it first came from a cow; this is a very silly prejudice. The small-pox is thought to have first come from a swine,-some say a camel.No animal can be more wholesome than a cow. It matters not, however, what the disease first came from, so long as it answers our purpose, of giving a very trifling ailment, instead of a very severe, serious, and infectious disease.